“Measure the Gains Vs. the Gaps”: MoJo for Your Goals

measure gains

Does the gap between achieving your goals and your present gains seem like an ever increasing, almost impossible divide to cross? Then consider these 3 Surefire Ways to Encourage Your Soul to Reach Your Goal.

photo credit: eccampbell
Despite my love/hate relationship with running on a treadmill–the modern day equivalent to a medieval torture device–I will still make like a hamster and run on the wheel when in a pinch. On one such occasion I was visiting my family in Wisconsin during Christmas. If you’ve ever been in Wisconsin during the winter months, you know the climate does not support an enjoyable run in the sun. So there I was, sucking air in the basement on my mom’s treadmill. I simply wanted to make it to the 20 minute mark—a seeming impossibility for anyone who hates running as much as I do. In an effort to keep my motivational juices flowing, I decided to try something new. At every minute mark, I reached out my hand, as if I were picking an apple from a low hanging branch, and yanked it back into an emphatic fist pump, followed by an audible “Yes!” whoop.

Pretty weird right? I have to admit, it did feel a bit freakish. But you know what? It really worked! With each fist pump and “YES” howl, I felt a newfound surge of adrenaline and before I knew it, I was done. YES!

Some Staggering Stats

According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, 4 out of 10 of the 150 Americans who have set new resolutions or goals for this year will have already chucked them out the window. Other statistics I’ve read state that by the summer less than 50% will still be on track, with only 8% actually achieving most of the goals they have set out to accomplish. If you have…

  • already chucked yours out the window,
  • never really come up with goals to stretch you personally or professionally,
  • become discouraged by how far you have yet to go…

there is great HOPE & HELP that can be found by engaging in the following 3 ways to encourage your soul to reach your goal. 

1. Record It!

In an interesting study conducted by Gail Matthews, those who set New Year goals are 42% more likely to hit them simply by writing them down. How does this relate to encouraging your soul? God created us with a drive to know our purpose in life. Goals relate to those purposes, which He had already planned even before we were born (Eph. 2:10)! Fascinatingly, in Decide, author Steve McClatchy states there is a chemical called dopamine, known as “the goal chemical“, which when released into our system, provides a MoJo for the soul. This happens simply by coming up with a challenging goal. Coincidence? I think not. Even the setting of goals is a gift from God.

2. Review It!

One of my goals this year was to plan a half-day once a month, and full day once a quarter, for planning and prayer. This mini retreat includes reviewing my goals, my written statements of “why” I want (or feel God leading me) to achieve them, and adjusting my action steps. I just finished my full day review yesterday. Doing so definitely renewed my soul and my Mojo.

3. Reward It!

Throughout the Bible there are examples of how the people of God overcame incredible obstacles and pressed forward to accomplish what could only be defined as “God-sized” goals. One of those times was when the Israelites were rebuilding Jerusalem. The first wave God sent to Jerusalem from Babylon, had a “God-sized” goal to accomplish: rebuilding the temple that had been destroyed 70 years earlier. Read how God’s people responded after completing only the foundation of the temple.

“…the priests…and the Levites…took their places to praise the Lord… With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: ‘He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.’ And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”    (~ Ezra 3:10-11 NIV)

What a great example of a “1 minute” fist pump though still a long way from finishing their run!

To recite McClatchy again in Decide, not only is dopamine released in setting goals, but our body also releases endorphins that give us extra MoJo for the soul to plow through the pain, exhaustion, or obstacles that could hold us back from completing a project or goal.

Though the Israelites didn’t have this science in mind, they experienced the effect by taking the time to reward themselves, to celebrate, and thank God for the progress they had made before moving on to the next phase.

In a recent podcast, I heard some sage advice about keeping your MoJo juices high and overflowing to press on to complete the “God-sized” goals He has given you:

“Measure the Gains not the Gaps!”

Measure the gains, not the gaps! Man this has been a powerful thought and driving principle for me, thus far in 2017! And, I hope it will be for you too. But how can you measure your gains or gaps without:

  1. knowing what your goals are and having them recorded somewhere?
  2. reviewing them consistently?
  3. taking time for the occasional fist pump / reward?

Oh, and one last thing to remember:

Goals should not replace God  

Sometimes, no matter how hard we may try to discern the Lord’s direction in the establishment of our goals, He has a different, bigger, broader plan in mind that we haven’t yet discovered.

Here’s how the wisest man who ever lived put it:

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (~ Proverbs 16:9, NASB)

In such times, don’t sweat it! In our planning we simply need to:

  • PRAY
  • PLAN
  • TRUST
  • & then ADJUST when His better plans intervene.

Continue the Conversation:  

  • In what ways do you find the principle: “measure your gains and not the gaps” helpful? 
  • How do you seek to implement it? How will you? 

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